Mysterious Seismic ‘Pulse’ That Shakes Earth Every Minute Puzzles Scientists


One theory suggests that the pulse is being caused by ocean waves hitting the coast and another suggests it might be related to volcanoes.

An enigmatic faint tremor keeps rocking our planet every 26 seconds, with scientists remaining none the wiser about its origins, according to Discover magazine.

First documented in the Sixties by a researcher named Jack Oliver, the microseism, or planetary heartbeat as it came to be called, was then investigated closer in 1980 by a geologist with the US Geological Survey, Gary Holcomb. However, as Discover says, their work would “mostly be lost to time”.

Though Oliver managed to track the pulse’s origins to somewhere “in the southern or equatorial Atlantic Ocean”, decades later, Garrett Euler, a graduate student at seismologist Doug Wiens’ lab at Washington University in St Louis, has managed to narrow it down further, to “a part of the Gulf of Guinea called the Bight of Bonny”.

However, whereas Euler, who presented his findings at the Seismological Society of America conference in 2013, postulated that the pulse is caused by ocean waves hitting the coast, a team led by Yingjie Xia from the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics in Wuhan, China proposed instead that the tremors are most likely related to volcanoes, since a volcano on the island of Sao Tome in the Bight of Bonny appears to be fairly close to the pulse’s “point of origin”.


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